28 May 1999
Canadian farmers see 9% income drop

CANADIAN farm incomes dropped by 9.1% last year while debt loads grew by 9% as grain and hog farmers felt the effects of lower commodity prices.

Farm cash receipts, the total revenue received by Canadian farmers, dropped 1.7% in 1998, according to Statistics Canada, the reporting agency. This was the first time since 1998 that cash receipts had reduced.

Saskatchewan, Canadas largest grain-producing province, was the worst affected. Cash receipts in the first quarter dropped 6.6% against last year.

Overall operating expenses on Canadian farms grew just 0.5% last year, but interest costs increased by more than 11% to C$2 billion (£850m) because of rising debt, said the agency.

Cash receipts for wheat fell more than 40% last year. Pig prices reached their lowest level since 1974. There were stronger results from rapeseed, cattle and potatoes.

Canadas agriculture ministry is forecasting modest growth in cash receipts this year as stronger livestock sales offset weaker crop results.

  • Financial Times 28/05/99 page 30